Parents with children under the age of 17 should be receiving a financial boost from the federal government this week as part the increased Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). The benefit grants nearly $2,000 annually for children under six and $720 for every child between six and 17.
There is also a retroactive payment from Jan. 1, 2015 marking the biggest single-day direct payment to families in Canadian history.
“I think it’s great. It’s something we campaigned on and we’re happy as a government to deliver,” said Gerry Ritz, MP for Battlefords-Lloydminster. “We’re under the impression that mom and dad are probably the best childcare advocates for kids and we want to make sure they have the ability to make those choices.”
The money parents receive comes “unfettered” and can be used for anything they choose, like childcare, sports activities and back-to-school supplies. According to a press release, roughly 3.8 million families across the country will profit from the boosted UCCB, which is twice the amount that previously qualified.
Ritz says helping families is a big priority for the federal government and he’s glad to see that 92 per cent of families in Saskatchewan have applied for the benefits. The government will also try to find out who the eight per cent are that haven’t yet applied and make sure they have the ability to get on board as well.
“Making parents have the ability to support their kids, making sure the kids are getting the best foot forward when it comes to getting off to school every day, it’s very important for this government,” he said.
He also says this kind of financial commitment from the government doesn’t just happen “over night” as the boost to UCCB is something the they’ve been planning and working on with parents to find the best way to deliver it.
“At the same time, in the last budget we brought in income splitting between families, two income earners, and so on so that they can have a little extra cash too to look after the kids,” said Ritz.
Ritz would like to remind those who haven’t applied yet to do so, and even though there is a cutoff date, the government is aware of extenuating circumstances and will look at case by case issues should they arise. To find out how to apply parents can visit http://www.canada.ca/taxsavings for more details.